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Yukon celebrates with Freedom Fest

Yukon’s Freedom Fest was an overall success, despite Monday’s partial rainout, city officials said Wednesday.

“I thought things went pretty well overall, considering,” said Jenna Roberson, the city’s public information officer.

Freedom Fest is Yukon’s two-day celebration for the Fourth of July.

Monday’s events, which included a salute to veterans, were cut short by severe weather.

A performance by Irv Wagner’s Concert Band was limited to only two songs before the storms moved in packing torrential rain and strong winds. It washed out the evening’s fireworks.

The city posted on its website that most of Monday’s fireworks were ruined by the storm. That was the bad news. The good news, Roberson said, is that the company has offered to perform a reshoot at no cost to the city.

City Manager Jim Crosby said Thursday that reshoot will occur on Sept. 3. In addition, Irv Wagner also has agreed to return for a second performance.

Meanwhile, Tuesday’s activities went off without a hitch.

Almost 40 children turned out early for the annual Cherry Bomb Triathalon, which included swimming, biking and running.

That was followed by a variety of events including a sand art contest, an obstacle course, a car show that drew more than two dozen classic vehicles and free swimming.

“The crowds were great and the activities went smoothly,” Roberson said.

During the evening, thousands of people packed both Chisholm Trail Park and Freedom Trail Park for an evening of entertainment ranging from free watermelon and ice cream to a hot dog eating contest, in which the winner ate 11 hot dogs in seven minutes.

While, it was not to the level of the Joey Chestnut, who won Nathan’s Hot Dog eating contest at Coney Island by eating 72 hot dogs, Yukon’s winner held his own.

The highlight of the evening was a patriotic performance by the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, which lead to the city’s spectacular 20-minute nonstop fireworks show.

“The crowds were great,” Roberson said, pointing out that the parks were packed with viewers.

She said it would be difficult to estimate the number of people watching fireworks because thousands watch from outside the park at private watch parties or just along the streets.

Another highlight of this year’s festival was the Global War on Terrorism Wall of Remembrance.

The wall was sponsored by Brandon Crusha, of Brotherhood Garage.

He said Wednesday that the 110-foot wall was viewed by hundreds of people attending the festival.

In addition, Roberson said the wall brought something special to Freedom Fest.

“It reminded people what it is all about. We have people who have sacrificed everything for our freedom. I’m glad we got to honor that this year,” Roberson said.

She said she is unsure if the wall will return to the festival in future years because of their goal to visit all 50 states and to be within 75 miles of those who died in the fight against terrorism.

“We would be happy to welcome them back,” she said.

Roberson said officials will sit down in a few weeks to discuss what went right and wrong with this year’s festival. Planning for next year’s festival is expected to begin in about December.

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